The Knowledge Free Call Center’s Impact on Open Source in Higher Ed

In 2007 I began doing a talk called Unplugging from the Commercial Software Grid: Why Free is Better Even if you Have a Budget .  The original talk focused on my experience from moving from the open source LMS Moodle from WebCT but has had several forks over the years. I think this presentation is unusual, at least for me, as it has become more relevant than it was when I gave the very first version of it 6 or so years ago.  I’ve not done this talk since the 2012 Mountain MoodleMoot in Helena MT…but it may be time to revive and refine this one.  The topic is still more relevant than it was even a few years ago.  The topics covered in this session are as follows:

  1. Why higher ed must change and how IT can help
  2. Why did I become a fan of open source?
  3. Why did I create these lists and checklists?
  4. A basic checklist which I use to determine if an Open Source Software (OSS) project is even an option,
  5. A list of questions which you must answer before going the OSS route
  6. A list reasons for going the OSS route
  1. Why higher ed must change and how IT can help
    1. The Rising cost of School
    2. Flat Revenues
    3. The Pupil Cliff
    4. Economics for Licensing Software are Broken
    5. Drive Recurring Costs to Zero
  2. Why did I become a fan of open source?
    1. The Economics of IT Never Have worked
    2. The Peer Production Model
  3. Why did I create these lists and checklists?
    1. Open Source Objections
  4. A basic checklist which I use to determine if an OSS project is even an option,
    1. The Good
    2. The Bad
    3. The Ugly
      1. Learned Helplessness
    4. Loyal Dissent
  5. A list of questions which you must answer before going the OSS route
    1. But don’t you get what you pay for?
    2. But the security and stability issues?
    3. But you need to careful because you don’t know if the open source project will be there tomorrow?
    4. But what do you do when the creator of the open source project dies?
    5. 5) But we will need a developer?
    6. 6) But can it grow with us?
    7. 7) But can it do everything we need?
    8. 8) But who you gonna’ call at 2:00am?
  6. A list reasons for going the OSS route

With that background I am going to begin the first installment of an update to to this topic.  I think I am going to revise/update/reorganize some of the work I have done on this topic in the past on justifying open source software.   starting with commentary on how important commercial support of an open source project is to project adoption and sustainability.  

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